Decision Made On Fenway Sports Group's Purchase Of Pittsburgh Penguins

By Jason Hall

November 29, 2021

NHL: NOV 14 Penguins at Capitals
Photo: Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Fenway Sports Group (FSG) have officially announced an agreement for FSG to acquire controlling interest in the National Hockey League franchise, Penguins Vice President of Public Affairs Tim McNulty announced in an official release on Monday (November 29).

McNulty confirmed Hockey Hall of Famer and current majority owner Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle "will remain part of the ownership group and will be closely aligned with FSG" as part of the deal, which is still pending approval from the NHL.

Lemieux, a former captain and the Penguins' all-time leading scorer, released a statement on the team's official website amid the announcement of the official agreement on Monday.

"To our beloved fans, Ron Burkle and I have reached agreement with Fenway Sports Group (FSG) to sell a controlling interest in the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team. This is an exciting day for the future of our franchise," Lemieux said. We want Penguins fans to know that we would only enter a partnership of this magnitude with leaders who share our values.
"Over the years, we have been approached multiple times by various groups interested in purchasing the team but never found the right fit. In FSG, however, we met an experienced group of leaders with a passion to win championships and a vision that aligns with ours. Just as importantly, they have at their core a stewardship philosophy rooted in local community impact and investment. It is a winning combination."

WPXI reported both the FSG board and the Penguins board voted to approve the sale 10 days prior to Monday's announcement.

On November 16, the Wall Street Journal reported Fenway Sports Group, the parent company of the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool F.C. and Roush Fenway Racing, is reportedly in "advanced talks" to purchase the Penguins.

At the time, the Wall Street Journal reported the proposed deal "could be finalized later this week" if negotiations "don't fall apart" as terms continue to be discussed, sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed.

Fenway Sports Group is led by principal owner John W. Henry, who holds an estimated 40% of stock in the company, and Chairman Tom Werner, who controls the second-largest block of shares.

In March, the company added Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and his longtime and businesses partner Maverick Carter as businesses partners.

James and Carter became the the first Black partners of FSG and joined Basketball Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Derek Jeter as the only Black owners of MLB teams upon their respective purchase of ownership stakes in the Red Sox.

Michael Silverman of the Boston Globe reported James purchased an "undisclosed amount of Fenway Sports Group shares after previously holding an approximately 2 percent share of the Liverpool soccer franchise since 2011," at the time of the deal.

The Boston Globe reported FSG aimed to add more professional sports teams to its ownership portfolio, as well as "betting, esports and data analytics companies" amid the reported agreements with James and Carter.

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